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Detroit at Cleveland

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Detroit (81-62) «0002005018130
Cleveland (70-70)020200200661

Verlander earns 22nd win as Tigers outslug Indians

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Victor Martinez and the Detroit Tigers found a way to pick up Justin Verlander.

Verlander won his 10th straight start and earned his 22nd victory overall, helped when Martinez hit a late grand slam that sent the Tigers over the Cleveland Indians 8-6 Wednesday.

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The AL Central-leading Tigers completed a three-game sweep and won their sixth in a row.

"What a great win," said Verlander, who leaped off the bench and cheered Martinez's shot that highlighted a five-run rally in the seventh inning. "When he hit it, I said, 'It's that kind of year."'

Verlander (22-5) gave up a pair of two-run homers to Shelley Duncan and trailed 4-2 before Detroit rallied against Justin Masterson (11-9) and the Indians' bullpen.

Verlander leads the majors in wins and is 20-2 since May 1. He gave up four runs and three hits in six innings, striking out eight.

"My stuff was not as crisp as it has been," Verlander said. "The two pitches to Duncan were pretty good, where I wanted them. Guys in this league get paid to hit it, too."

"Once again, our team came through in a huge way. They got big hits and I'm always extremely confident in our bullpen," he said.

Verlander is the first Detroit pitcher to win 10 consecutive decisions since Jack Morris in 1983, and first to win 10 straight starts since Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser in 1946. His 22 wins are the most for a Detroit pitcher since Joe Coleman went 23-15 in 1973.

"They didn't get many hits off him, just a couple out of the ballpark," manager Jim Leyland said.

Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth for his 42nd save, tying Todd Jones' team record set in 2000. Valverde has not blown a save this year.

"That's his job and he's doing it pretty well," Leyland said. "Don't forget what (Joaquin) Benoit did in the eighth."

The Tigers' setup man struck out two in a perfect inning and has a 1.58 ERA over his last 43 outings.

Martinez went 5 for 13 with two homers and 10 RBI in the sweep of his former team as Detroit dropped Cleveland 9½ games back. The Tigers are 16-4 since Aug. 19, going 6-0 against Cleveland and sweeping three in a row from the Chicago White Sox to take command of the division.

"They took care of business and, obviously, we didn't," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "They're doing a great job running away from us."

Leyland isn't ready to celebrate.

"Have we accomplished something? Absolutely," he said. "So far we've met a head-on challenge pretty good. I told them, 'Have a good day off (Thursday). You earned it. But get ready to play Friday because nobody is going to give us anything."

Masterson left after Detroit loaded the bases on two singles around Duncan's error at first base in the seventh. Joe Smith came on and yielded Miguel Cabrera's RBI single that got the Tigers within 4-3.

Lefty Tony Sipp replaced Smith and the switch-hitting Martinez turned around to the right side and hit the first pitch into the left-field seats for his second career slam, both against the Indians. The first was Oct. 3, 2009, for Boston, a couple of months after Cleveland traded him to the Red Sox.

"It's not just because it's against the Indians, I always want to do my best," Martinez said.

Martinez, Cabrera and Alex Avila each had two of Detroit's 13 hits. The Tigers have had 10 or more hits in 11 of their last 13 games and 31 of 51 games since the All-Star break.

"We were kind of up and down for a while and are starting to hit our stride," Verlander said.

Duncan had his second two-homer game this week and fourth of his career. He also did it Sunday in Kansas City.

He came in just 2 for 11 (.182) with four strikeouts in his career against Verlander before connecting in the second for a 2-0 lead. The two runs were more than the Indians scored in seven of Masterson's starts this year.

Detroit tied it at 2 in the fourth. Cabrera singled with one out for the Tigers' first hit and was doubled to third by Martinez. Cabrera scored on a sacrifice fly by Avila and Wilson Betemit doubled home Martinez.

Jim Thome lined a two-out double high off the wall in left-center in the Indians' fourth. Duncan followed with his eighth homer, a towering shot to left for a 4-2 lead.

Lonnie Chisenhall's two-run homer off Tigers reliever Phil Coke got Cleveland within 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh. Don Kelly's RBI triple made it 8-6 in the ninth.

Notes

  • Verlander has thrown at least six innings and 100 pitches in all 31 starts this season.
  • Fans sitting in a dreary drizzle throughout the game got a few laughs in the middle innings as a squirrel darted around the outfield.
  • Indians DH Travis Hafner , out since Aug. 22 with a strained tendon in his right foot, ran in the outfield before the game. "Just straight ahead, nothing lateral, but I'm feeling better," he said.
  • Detroit is 21-10 on the road since July 6, best in the AL.
  • Cabrera has hit .391 with 26 RBI while reaching base safely in a career-high 34 consecutive games, the longest streak by a Tigers player since Damion Easley's 34-game streak in 1998.
  • The Tigers are off Thursday before playing host to Minnesota for three games.
  • The Indians start a four-game set in Chicago on Thursday in a chase for second place. LHP David Huf (2-3) will oppose White Sox RHP Gavin Floyd (12-10).
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Victor Martinez watches his grand slam in the seventh inning against the Indians. (AP)
Victor Martinez watches his grand slam in the seventh inning against the Indians. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

S. Duncan
AB 4
R 3
H 3
HR 2
RBI 4
Detroit

V. Martinez
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
 
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF6110034 .257
Will Rhymes, 2B3110101 .216
    Danny Worth, 2B1010000 .323
Andy Dirks, LF4110023 .257
   a- Ryan Raburn, PH-LF1000001 .238
Miguel Cabrera, 1B4221102 .332
Victor Martinez, DH5224013 .326
Alex Avila, C4121000 .301
Wilson Betemit, 3B3011111 .284
    Brandon Inge, 3B1000001 .190
Don Kelly, RF5011013 .235
Ramon Santiago, SS3010202 .256
Totals40813858  
a-flied out for Dirks in the 8th
Batting
2B - Will Rhymes (2, Masterson), Victor Martinez (33, Masterson), Alex Avila (29, Pestano), Wilson Betemit (21, Masterson)
3B - Don Kelly (3, Pestano)
HR - Victor Martinez (10, Sipp)
SF - Alex Avila (8)
RBI - Miguel Cabrera (95), Victor Martinez 4 (89), Alex Avila (69), Wilson Betemit (42), Don Kelly (18)
2-OUT RBI - Wilson Betemit (14), Don Kelly (4)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Cabrera-Santiago
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Verlander (W,22-5) 6344282 2.44
Ryan Perry0111000 5.64
Phil Coke (H,8) 1211001 4.51
Joaquin Benoit (H,25) 1000020 3.29
Jose Valverde (S,42) 1000010 2.49
WP - Justin Verlander (7)
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 113-73, Ryan Perry 3-2, Phil Coke 11-8, Joaquin Benoit 14-9, Jose Valverde 9-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 4-6, Phil Coke 2-0, Joaquin Benoit 1-0, Jose Valverde 2-0
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 23, Ryan Perry 1, Phil Coke 4, Joaquin Benoit 3, Jose Valverde 3
Cleveland Indians
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ezequiel Carrera, CF4000020 .237
Kosuke Fukudome, RF4000000 .275
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS4000030 .273
Carlos Santana, C2100220 .235
Jim Thome, DH4110012 .234
Shelley Duncan, 1B4334010 .264
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B4112000 .224
Jason Donald, 2B3010010 .294
Trevor Crowe, LF3000011 .000
Totals32666211  
Batting
2B - Jim Thome (14, Verlander)
HR - Shelley Duncan 2 (8, Verlander, Verlander), Lonnie Chisenhall (4, Coke)
RBI - Shelley Duncan 4 (33), Lonnie Chisenhall 2 (10)
2-OUT RBI - Shelley Duncan 2 (16)
SB - Carlos Santana (5, 2nd base off Verlander/Avila)
Team LOB - 1
Fielding
E - Shelley Duncan (1, Misplayed grounder)
Cleveland Indians
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Masterson (L,11-9) 6854360 3.01
Joe Smith0111000 1.87
Tony Sipp (BS,1) 1111111 2.62
Rafael Perez 0.2100000 2.79
Vinnie Pestano 1.1211110 2.43
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Masterson 114-68, Joe Smith 2-2, Tony Sipp 21-13, Rafael Perez 6-5, Vinnie Pestano 29-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Masterson 8-5, Vinnie Pestano 1-2
Batters Faced - Justin Masterson 30, Joe Smith 1, Tony Sipp 5, Rafael Perez 3, Vinnie Pestano 7
Game Information
Attendance - 16783
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Tony Randazzo, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Larry Vanover